COVID-19 · outdoors · slice of life

Discerning Ducks #SOL20

Over the weekend, Isabelle asked if we could go to the park to feed the ducks. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of being in a park with lots of other people so we made a deal. If the kids could get up and out EARLY this morning, then we’d grant Isabelle’s wish and go to the park.

Marc gathered wheat bread and hot dog rolls and put it in a plastic bag for the ducks. I remembered some not-so-tasty gluten-free bread I’ve had in the freezer since President’s Day Weekend. I hadn’t thrown it out, despite disliking it, since I kept worrying about food shortages. Now that I know the local gluten-free bakery is baking consistently, I felt as though I could part with the remaining eight slices. I defrosted the bread, put it in a separate plastic bag (You never know when you encounter a duck with Celiac disease!), and put it in the car with the bag of regular breads.

Once we arrived at the park, I untwisted the twist on the gluten-free bread bag first. Ari and I began tossing the gluten-free bread in. The ducks swam over and nibbled on it. Then, they SPIT IT OUT. Seriously! I couldn’t imagine why they’d spit it out. They are ducks! How could they be that finicky?! So, Ari and I kept tossing the gluten-free bread into the water. The ducks swam away from it!

Next, I opened up the bag of wheat bread and hot dog rolls. And do you know what happened next? The ducks devoured it!

Apparently that gluten-free bread was really that bad. No longer did I feel badly about getting rid of good food since it was NOT good!

If you look closely you’ll notice bread floating in the water. That’s the gluten-free stuff that none of the ducks wanted to eat!
books · outdoors · slice of life

Summer’s End

Autumn is my favorite season. I love everything about it: the splendid foliage, the cooler temperatures, the bug-free air, the harvest festivals, the Jewish High Holidays, and the birthday celebrations for Ari and Marc!

All of this makes autumn feel busy. But it’s a good busy, even when you add in the four conferences my husband and I each attend each fall. (Plus, we host Thanksgiving, which happens a few days after I return from NCTE!) It feels as though autumn moves by at break-neck speed, leaving us wondering where the it went every time we reach Winter Solstice.

Despite the beauty and busy-ness of autumn, I don’t want this summer to end. I’m clinging onto the final week of Isabelle’s summer vacation with a white-knuckle grip. My heart aches a little when I think about her boarding the school bus next week to start second grade. It means earlier wake ups and earlier bedtimes. It means less time with her and Ari running around the house together. It means less time to play. All of this makes me sad. Dare I say, I am not ready for her to go back to school just yet.

Isabelle spent plenty of time in the “big kids” section of the playground. However, she also enjoyed playing with Ari.

Today, after a medical appointment, Isabelle asked “What are we going to do?” We had no plans, which felt glorious to me. I looked at her and said, “Would you like to go to Cocoa Castle?” She cheered. (I guess that was a yes!) So I drove across town and let my kids play on the playground until it was nearly lunchtime. Once at home, I made the kids lunch and put Ari down for a nap. That’s when Isabelle and I sat down together to work on her miniature library, which was a birthday gift from one of her friends.

Isabelle cut the pages of the tiny books, while I folded and glued them together. As we did this, I realized we’ve been working on this project all summer long. We’re almost two-thirds of the way finished. There’s no way we’ll complete the entire library in the next six days since the final books are ones we need to write (in teeny-tiny handwriting) ourselves. And that made me long for yet another week of summer. (Don’t get me started on how bogus I think it is that schools in Central Pennsylvania start before Labor Day!) However, I know better than to voice my disdain for back-to-school time. Instead, filled with a heavy heart, I admired my daughter cutting carefully along the dotted lines just savoring these quiet moments together.

Our most recent creations!

None of our books are perfectly folded or glued, but we’re quite proud of them. 19 completed, 11 to go!

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outdoors · slice of life


Soaring in the air

With a gentle breeze

In your face

Noticing your

Giggles as you

Soar in the air

I used Waterlogue to alter this photo of Isabelle playing on one of three types of swings at the playground today



If you’re in the mood for listening to the kiddo’s giggles, then click here or here to watch two short videos of her on the swings.

outdoors · slice of life


64 degrees. That’s how warm it was by noon.

We took to the playground! Isabelle was great about avoiding the muddy spots and playing in places where she’d get dirty, but not covered in mud. (Score one for not having to do a huge load of laundry when we got home!)

First, she explored the Cocoa Castle.

Next, we went on the swings.

27 degrees.  That’s how cold it will be by Thursday.

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Check out the other slice of life stories at

outdoors · slice of life

A Playground All to Herself!

Isabelle played outside after school today. No one else from her class braved the playground. But Izzy didn’t care about the still-cold temps and the mud. She just wanted to play outdoors. And she did!

Despite the muddy playground and the ice she slipped on a few times, she had a great time. (And I will have a lot of laundry to do tonight!)

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Check out the other slice of life stories at

OBSERVATIONS · outdoors · seasons · slice of life

Blowing Bubbles in the Backyard

Isabelle grabbed for the bubbles, shook them up, then handed them to me.  She took my hand and led me to the deck steps.  She climbed up four stairs, sat down and told me, “Mama, sit.”

“Scoot over,” I said. “I need more space.”

She moved towards the left and said, “Mama, bubble!”

I began blowing bubbles.  She kept asking for a turn.  Initially I said “no,” because there were so many small bubbles inside of the wand from the shaking.  The first time she took the wand from me nothing happened.  The second time nothing happened either.  The third time there were still no bubbles.  So, she put the wand up to her mouth.  The bubble soap got all over her lips and chin.  She licked up the grape-smelling liquid.  I immediately checked the side of the bottle to make sure the bubbles were non-toxic.  (They were.)

“Wipe your mouth here,” I said lifting my sleeve up to her face.  (It’s not like I keep paper towels in the backyard.)

She didn’t wipe.  Instead she paused.  Then, she smiled wryly and wiped her mouth on the arm of my fleece.

“Nice,” I said. “I was already planning to wash this.  But if I was unsure, now I’m sure.”

Another wry smile.  It was as if she got my sarcasm.

And that’s the way it went.  Just blowing bubbles on a crisp early-autumn evening.  Simple pleasures.

Take a listen to our “bubble conversation”: